Brass and Woodwind Performance
The Brass and Woodwind Performance program is designed to develop your instrumental technique and stylistic vocabulary so you can excel in a variety of musical contexts, both on stage and in the studio. You’ll gain essential music skills through a combination of ensemble performance and individualized instruction that respects tradition and encourages innovation. Whether you’re into jazz, classical, funk, fusion, rock or hip-hop, you’ll have the support of experienced faculty to help you master the music you’re most passionate about.
We offer performance degrees for the following wind instruments:
By building a solid foundation in music theory, sight reading, aural skills and improvisation and soloing techniques, you’ll graduate prepared to succeed in a variety of career paths as a professional musician.
Ready For The Real World
As a Brass and Woodwind Performance major you’ll receive a hands-on education in a real world environment that directly mirrors the music industry. You’ll gain stage experience through the many playing opportunities on campus and around the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. By joining any of the Premier ensembles, such as the X-Tet or Fusion ensemble, you’ll also have the opportunity to tour nationally and internationally. You’ll get to record in state-of-the-art studios with fellow performance majors. You’ll learn how to compose and arrange your own music, how to book your own shows, and how to market and promote yourself as a player and artist. And through our job board, you can find gigs with original bands and commercial groups.
You’ll get a head start on your music career by building your professional network while you’re still in school. With access to guest artists, internships and the thriving Twin Cities music and arts scene, you’ll be connected to the industry before you graduate.
Teaching For Tomorrow
To succeed as a professional musician, you need a well-rounded education that prepares you for the dynamic future of the music business. That’s why our Brass and Woodwind Performance degree program focuses on developing your creativity and musicianship while giving you the necessary technology skills to adapt and compete in the industry. You’ll also graduate equipped with the entrepreneurial concepts and business savvy you’ll need to accomplish your goals and establish your career.
With a comprehensive education that blends artistry, technology and entrepreneurship, you’ll be ready to make and sustain a life in music.
Your Career Path
Graduates of the Brass and Woodwinds Performance program are prepared for a variety of career options, including:
- Professional Musician
- Touring Musician
- Session Player
- Music Director
- Music Teacher
- Private Lesson Studio
Studios & Facilities
Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.
There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
FacultyView All Faculty >>
Pete Whitman has spent over 25 years teaching and playing professionally as a saxophonist, flutist, and clarinetist. He has toured the U.S., Japan and Brazil with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and has also performed with such distinguished ensembles and musicians as the Minnesota Orchestra, Jack McDuff, Curtis Fuller, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Jazz MN Big Band, JAZZAX saxophone quartet, Andres Prado and Laura Caviani. Whitman has also recorded extensively as a sideman and has released a trio of solo albums. His latest, Where’s When (Artegra) features the X-Tet, a ten-piece ensemble led by Whitman, and received a four star rating by DownBeat magazine.
Dr. Scott Agster has performed all over the world with such distinguished groups as The UNT One O’Clock Lab Band, The Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Salsa del Soul, the Matt Sawyer Orchestra, The Glenn Miler Orchestra, and The Skunkfoot Seven. He has had the opportunity to work and perform with many acclaimed artists including Jimmy Heath, Benny Golson, Dave Douglas, Phil Woods, Nicholas Payton, Stefan Karlsson, Slide Hampton, and Paul McKee. Dr. Agster has recorded 21 albums including The Music of Frank Sinatra (Bella Galla Big Band), Traditionally Speaking (Jack Brass Band), Taking Shape (Snowblind) and Run With It! (G8).
Dr. Agster was also a founding member and arranger for the Vector Trombone Quartet, which was a finalist in the International Trombone Association Quartet Competition in Helsinki, Finland in 2003. He is currently active as a clinician on low brass techniques and improvisation. His recent research to determine modern trends in jazz curricula around the United States has been highlighted during the 2007 IAJE conference in New York.
We offer 1, 2 and 4-year degrees in Bass Performance, giving you options for a degree that fits with your plans and budget.
$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)
- Bachelor’s degree: 120 credits
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits
- Diploma: 45 credits
$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info >>
On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.
Click here to learn about the many resources available to help pay for college.
Gainful Employment Statistics
McNally Smith College of Music is institutionally and programmatically accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. More info >>